Can Tinnitus Be Caused By a Car Accident?

Tinnitus is the sensation of noise in the ears with no external source, usually only heard by the one affected by it. It is often described as a “ringing in the ears,” but it can also sound like buzzing, clicking, humming, whooshing, or shrieking. Tinnitus can also affect one or both ears, and be either temporary or something that persists for a long time.

Tinnitus is very common; in fact, between 50 to 60 million people in the US suffer from it. There are many different reasons one may get tinnitus at one point in their lives, including age-related hearing loss, ear infections, cardiovascular diseases, loud noises, or excess earwax and other obstructions in the ear.

Another common cause is head or neck trauma, which can be from injuries sustained in a car accident. More than one in 10 people who suffer from chronic tinnitus noticed their first symptoms following a head or neck injury, and these cases typically result in more unpleasant symptoms as well.

If you are in a car accident and endure a head or neck injury, you may get tinnitus in a few different ways. One of the most common ways to get tinnitus from head and neck trauma is by damaging your inner ear hair cells. The tiny hairs in your ear help to transform sound waves and perceive noise, and if they become damaged or even bent, they can send random electrical impulses to your brain, which results in the buzzing or ringing noises.

Tinnitus from a car crash may also be caused by damage to the hearing nerves or the part of the brain that is linked to hearing. If you do get tinnitus as a result of a head or neck injury from a car crash, you may be required to have surgery or therapies to treat it.

If that is the case, you do have the option of contacting a personal injury attorney to see if you are entitled to any compensation for treatment. Those with tinnitus are affected at varying degrees and with a range of symptoms, but in any case, it can cause stress, fatigue, issues with concentration, and even depression and anxiety if it goes untreated.

Though tinnitus is not life-threatening, it can prove to be very bothersome and negatively impact day-to-day life. This is especially true in cases of tinnitus caused by whiplash or head trauma, as those patients have proven to suffer from a higher mental burden and have more difficulty with tasks like sleeping through the night and thinking clearly.

According to the American Tinnitus Association, “Patients who ascribe their condition to head and neck trauma often report higher tinnitus volume and perceived burden, as well as greater variability in both sound, frequency, and location of their tinnitus.” For those who choose to obtain treatment, one of the first things tinnitus patients typically do is undergo a medical evaluation to determine where the damage is coming from and what can be done to treat it.

On average, people who get tinnitus from a head or neck injury seek medical attention sooner than other tinnitus patients, and it is estimated that the reason for this is that tinnitus eventually becomes more severe when it is caused by a head or neck injury.

While there is no cure for tinnitus, there are many tinnitus treatment options available, including therapies, certain medications, and lifestyle changes. Though tinnitus usually cannot be prevented since it often comes without notice, you can take extra measures to avoid getting it by using hearing protection, keeping the music to a low volume, staying healthy and exercising, and avoiding any accidents to the best of your ability.